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Borderlands 3 TVHM + Season Pass 1

FBT is back in Borderlands 3. Moxxi made him do it.

I hated BL3. It was everything the original set out to destroy, a smug AAA game playing it safe for the franchise. If Borderlands was a meme-sharing Redditor, BL3 is a corporation using their memes to appeal to the kidz; which is exactly what the appalling social media parody villains, the Calypso Twins were. God I hate this game.

But, I’ve played every Borderlands (even Legends) and all the DLCs. I gotta do the Season Pass; BL3 was already DLC-like with the planet-hopping but some of the series’ best moments happened in the DLCs – just look at General Knoxx or Tiny Tina’s efforts. Classics. And I should give BL3 another chance. Here comes True Vault Hunter Mode…

The Calypso Twins have not aged well and it’s not even 2 years old. At least in BL2 you could love to hate Jack, but not only are the Twins out-of-date caricatures, they’re badly written and crap villains. Genuinely annoying, they drag everything down - not that the rest of BL3 is shooting very high. Its repetitive, even for a Borderlands game, but not once does it push, refresh, or otherwise alter the Borderlands formula; sure, if it strayed too far it wouldn’t be BL anymore, but this is B-side bollocks that feels like a first draft. The majority of the characters, missions and moments are pure dad-joke / dad-dance cringe. It’s got none of the wit or that deranged, dangerous, life is meaningless tone of BL1 or 2. It’s just a bad comedy.

But, if you’re just after more BL then BL3 does come into its own in TVH mode, much like Pre-Sequel did. Once you’re making some serious money, gaining brutal weapons and the skill trees get spicy, it all comes together shooty-wise. Most of the creatures feel like reskins of BL originals but the Jabbers are better than I remember, even if they feel like a rip-off of the Rippers from Shadow Warrior. Playing as Fl4k and unlocking my pet’s ability to revive you really opens things up and I actually start to warm up to BL3, at least when fighting. Then the Calypso’s rock up and spoil it with their terrible jokes and boring main plot. How did a BL game make raiding Vaults a chore?

I guess the rot set in with BL2 when you saw your BL1 mercenary elevated to hero and we saved the day intentionally. But BL2 was good, it was funny, thrilling, unfair. It turned BL1 up to 11 and ended by promising BL3 would be a rip-roaring scramble to open vaults and enjoy the riches, a mad scavenger hunt. Instead, BL3 throws the Calypsos in the way and thinks it has substance, tries to expand the whole Vault, Eridian, Siren thing into some epic story-arc. Like we ever cared. We’re Vault Hunters, we don’t ‘run toward the danger’ - leave that universe-saving to Commander Shepard; I’m here for money, fame and guns that talk back.

By the end, while I’m infuriated by the Twins, the bad jokes, the unimaginative missions and the bloated, cliched plot, I have to admit … BL3 still my least favourite Borderlands. Can the DLCs change my mind?

The first DLC released, Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot, has my beloved Moxxi tasking the Vault Hunters with taking back her casino, which Handsome Jack stole. They must have had a brutal breakup given he also destroyed her Underdome and she had us ruin his replacement. Hell hath no fury...